Shrouded in mystery outside their hometown, Final Exit was a hardcore band from Umeå, Sweden, that came into existence around 1994 as a side project of Refused. During their short career, the band portrayed the upperclass suburb of Teg as a rough ghetto, bad mouthed their real bands in interviews, and released two incredible records through the seminal Umeå hardcore label Desperate Fight: “Teg” (1994) and “Umeå” (1997).
After releasing these two albums, they felt like there was no longer a place in the world for them—they were “too real” for the hardcore scene and didn’t want to take part in “today’s fake scene”. Final Exit disbanded in 1997 shortly after their last tour and album was released.
In 2007, Final Exit reunited for one gig at the Umeå Open Festival to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the band’s break-up. The same year also saw the release of “Det Egentliga Västerbotten: Complete Discography 94-97” on CD and in 2009 the vinyl release included a DVD with their last show and some other older live footage caught on tape. They got back together once again for Refused’s after party gig on December 15, 2012 at Fabriken, Umeå, along with Abhinanda.
What follows is a mid 1990s Final Exit interview that was originally published in the first issue of Law & Order Zine, and later on at the now defunct website SWEHC.com. Author is Staffan Snitting.
Introduction (SWEHC, 2010)
I started doing a fanzine when I was about 16 years old. For the first issue, I did an interview with Jon and Henke from Outlast over the phone. I had gotten my hands on a speakerphone, and recorded the interview on cassette by placing the tape deck next to the phone. I also sent out a bunch of questions to Dave Exit from Final Exit. I guess I didn’t have the guts to call him. Or perhaps it was just that the secret wasn’t out yet. I lived in the south of Sweden, Final Exit were far up north. I was new to the scene, and there was no Internet to spread news in a matter of seconds and minutes. So I had absolutely no idea who the guys in Final Exit actually were. I think I came to realize that a short while after the first issue was published. Anyway. I have saved loads of old letters and interviews from those days, but I just can’t find the hand written answers from Dave Exit (whose real name is David Sandström, more known for playing drums in Refused).
Monument Records released a fantastic vinyl version of the Final Exit discography last year (2009), including a DVD. This was without any doubt one of the best European hardcore bands ever, so do yourself a favor and… well you know the rest.
David later dropped edge and Refused split up. The last song Refused recorded featured extremely angry lyrics by vocalist Dennis, directed towards those in the band that he apparently felt had betrayed him and what the band had stood for. I guess Dennis and David made up soon though. Since a couple of years, they play in AC4 together.
When my band played in Umeå in December of 2009, David was there with Xs on his hands. I mean, we are nerds. So we noticed. And we discussed it. Apparently he had said he was going to “try” it again. Then when Abhinanda did a re-union gig in Stockholm about a month later, he was there yet again with Xs painted on his hands. Quite big ones as well.
I have no idea what has happened since. But here’s a picture to prove it. I am the guy on top with the white hoodie, David is the guy with a beanie in my armpit, and the hand holding on to my right arm is his.
So, here is an outtake from the first issue of Law and Order zine, a translation of the interview I did in the mid 90s. Enjoy!
Straight outta Teg: Final Exit Interview
You’re using nick names on the record as well as in interviews. What are your real names? Is there a seventies Kiss vibe to you?
We’ve learned the hard way that it is necessary. Sometimes things have to be done that can harm our private lives, and so we separate between the struggle and our everyday lives. It’s not like we are hiding from anything, we’re just protecting the innocent.
How has life been since you released “Teg” and became rock stars?
I don’t understand the question.
Your music is very aggressive, and the lyrics aren’t that kind to those they are directed towards. Which is the case, do you have aggressive music to match the aggressive lyrics or vice versa?
We are aggressive. Fury is the only sound and natural state of mind in the 90s. Those who aren’t pissed off are either cowards, stupid or blind. The number one reason why we even did a record was to bring some fury into hardcore again. All these shitty bands claiming to be hardcore in Sweden are so fucking calm and nice and I hate that. Hardcore is primitive rage, nothing more.
You’ve been pretty angry with bands like Refused and Abhinanda in interviews. But then you release a record on their label, and then Refused claim to be former members of Final Exit. And that stuff about Teg being such a tough neighborhood that you can’t go out at night… you’re joking right? Let’s clear things up, do you harbor resentment towards straight edgers who hang out with drinkers and meat eaters? Is Teg to Umeå what Brooklyn is to New York?
There’s another thing that I hate about the current hardcore and punk scene. No one dares to criticize anyone. Unity is bought at the cost of truth, and thereby useless. If I think that Refused says or does something stupid, you will hear it from me. The Average Joe mentality that “if I don’t speak of the problem, it doesn’t exist”, is far too common. We can still release the record on Desperate Fight, even though they are hypocrites for releasing Doughnuts and writing “straight edge” on the record when the bass player eats meat. Do you never criticize your friends? What do you mean clear things up? Yes we harbor resentment and yes that’s how life is in Teg.
How can you handle your instruments when you’re jumping around on stage?
The words I am singing motivate me to give it all I’ve got. But who says we’re playing correctly? It’s punk to play incorrectly!
The meaning of your name represents the band perfectly. Tell us about it.
Final Exit means the final and last way out. Straight edge is the final exit in this destructive society that we call civilization. The name just seemed natural somehow.
Are you the hardest hardcore band in Sweden? At least I think you play harder than most crust bands.
Yes. Without a doubt. The crust bands lack both power and energy, as they booze it away.
When you rehearse, do you get the feeling of just wanting to clear your head?
The music is done that way. The lyrics are obviously more thought through than that. We rarely rehearse old songs, why would we? We already know them.
What’s your take on 1) La Piovra 2) Young Ones 3) Renegade 4) Texas Ranger 5) Splatter movies?
Everything except for La Piovra glorifies meaningless bullshit and shallow lives. No sympathy.
How many copies of “Teg” have been sold? Do you have any new material coming up for some compilation or perhaps even a new record?
About 2,000 copies. A new song has been recorded for “Straight edge as fuck II”. It’s called “Sing along” and it’s our best so far. We have lots of new songs. Desperate Fight will release it once we are done.
You seem to be into hard music. What do you think of evil dudes like Mayhem, Darkthrone, Ulver and the rest of the Norwegian mob? And what do you think about softies like Black Train Jack?
Geeks. Please don’t waste ink on stuff like that. Black Train Jack features members of Token Entry so think before you open your mouth.
You have lyrics about the straight edge trend in Umeå. Has things started to slow done now, and can you see who were edge because of the trend rather than personal convictions?
Yes, exactly. Well put.
Have you done gigs further south? Do you have any plans to do so?
We’ve played in Vänersborg but that’s it. We play for gas money if we have the time.
Please end the interview with something.
It would be fun to get out and provoke a little, show what hardcore is really about. We’ll see. Final Exit is turning more political so hold on.
And thanks to Dave for good answers to generally terrible questions. I guess it’s still hard to tell after this interview whether or not Final Exit includes members from more famous Umeå bands. Oh well, as long as they put out great music, who cares?